What is it about?

Plastic resins are complex chemicals. The several chemicals cause occupational allergies (OA), including respiratory allergies. However, when a suspected OA patient occurs in a factory, we tend to investigate only the most famous causative chemicals as the causative substances of OA. Is that really enough?  We investigated the chemicals that might be contained in urethane resin in a factory and looked for chemicals that could cause occupational asthma. Finally, we narrowed down the two potential chemicals, toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and trimellitic anhydride (TMA), to check if the two suspected OA patients had chemical-specific antibodies. The results showed that two suspected OA patients had both TDI and TMA-specific antibodies.

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Why is it important?

TDI, a polymer of polyurethane resin is a very famous cause of OA. The details of what chemicals are contained in plastic resin are corporate secrets. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully investigate what kind of chemical substances are contained in addition to the polymer.


Workers will often be exposed to multiple chemicals at the same time, not only in plastic resin factories but also in various factories. It is important for us to maintain a combined exposure perspective whenever we seek the cause of allergic disease in the workplace.

Mayumi Tsuji
University of Occupational and Environmental Health

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Evaluation of chemical-specific IgG antibodies in male workers from a urethane foam factory, Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, June 2018, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1186/s12199-018-0713-4.
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